Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We Have a WINNER!!!!

And it wasn't this poor thing shown below. WARNING!! There are some GRAPHIC pics in this post!!! Consider yourself forewarned!


We received this eagle in after a woman watched it get pummeled in a territorial battle.

And as you can see, "pummeled" is an understatement. She is missing feathers and skin off the top of her head, her right eye is badly mangled, as is her beak. She also had some puncture wounds on her chest. Me? I always thought territorial battles were a "guy thang." But nope, if you are where you shouldn't be, be prepared to fight the fight of your life....literally. Here's a better picture of the gruesomeness.

We had to tube feed her when she initially came in, as the inside of her mouth was very swollen and her beak was too cracked and painful to use!

Things started healing up and scabbing over. It was the next week, when I was holding her, that I noticed her right foot was swollen. Not sure why, as nothing was broken. But Michelle Loftus, our vet extraordinaire, came by and recommended laser therapy on the foot....

and the face.

This helps increase blood flow to the site which in turn helps with healing process.

As you can see, she is slowly getting better. Now we need to find out if anyone has successfully released a one-eyed eagle before. Penny has been calling around about it. The one plus is that they are scavengers for the most part. We will see what Penny's contacts have to say about it before making any more decisions about her.

We got in this Cooper's hawk from Mt. Vernon.

It was found in someones back yard. There were no palpable breaks in the lower structures of the wings and he obviously can move them. So we let it chill for a bit in a carrier. Man, they are one SPAZZY bird! I got jumpy just trying to grab it, because it was hopping around and freaking out so much! Penny was there and she mocked and japed me horribly over it!

After a few spazz-ridden days, we decided to plop his butt in an Aviary to see how he did.

Turns out it must have just been a muscle sprain or something, as it was just fine.

In case you haven't guessed, we are just ending our "adult" season before heading into "baby" season and we mainly tend to get birds in. Having said that, here is a gorgeous Great Horned owl we got in!

*Pic by Penny Harner

No, it isn't cocking its head because it's quizzical. The head is tilted that much because of neurological damage due to, we think, it going head-to-head...literally....with a car, as it was found on the side of a road. It had bruising on the head, its right eye had a slower pupillary response than the left eye, and along with the head tilt came horizontal nystagmus. Nystagmus is this rhythmic head and eye movement where it is slow in one direction and then fast in the other. This guy was moving his head horizontally and looked like he was nodding off and then his head would snap to the side, like he was jerking awake. And he did it constantly. It was very sad to watch.

So, we gave him some non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication along with some B complex and hand fed him for awhile.

And slowly, the nystagmus stopped.....

..and the head became more upright. He eventually started eating on his own and then, after a few weeks, was well enough to move to a small outdoor mew.

Look! He's even getting all attitudey (it's a word!) with me! Isn't it GREAT?! He was eventually moved to a larger flight cage to build up his flight muscles and has since been released! WOOHOO!

CUTE ALERT! Yes, if you haven't heard already, some of the first babies of the season have arrived! The first to arrive were one of my favorites, and yes, they are more birds, and that is three Barn owlets!! The tree in which they were nesting was cut down and they were sent on to us. I got to pick them up from the folks who brought them over from off-island and it sounded like I had a tea kettle going off in my car the entire way back to The Hollow. I just chuckled the whole way there. Here's the first of the cuties!

The wee ones always seem, to me, to look like wizened old men. That, or an extra out of the movie The Dark Crystal....take your pick. He did have a bit of crusting around the eye, so we added some drops to it.

Here's the mid-sized guy.

Gods! They are just SO CUTE! Unfortunately for this guy, he didn't come out of the "losing his home" scenario unscathed. Turns out we found a fracture in one of his wings so we took an x-ray and.....

....YEESH! It just looks SO painful. I empathize way too much when an animal is hurting. And when I see things like this it's worse, so much so that I don't even want to touch the poor thing as I don't want to be an instrument of even more pain. And then we weren't even sure if he had an actual joint where that blank spot was. We decided to hold off on making any final decision on him until we consulted with our local avian vet, Michelle.

And last, but certainly not least, is big bro.

There is just something about this pic that makes me giggle....not sure why. He was all in one piece and looked healthy, which was good news!

So after weighing and banding them all, we placed them in a carrier to let them calm down for a bit.
Then we decided to get some food in them.

It always amazes me that even under extremely stressful circumstances, a lot of these little guys will inhale food when you offer it to them! As for the one with the broken wing, well, we couldn't put a splint or anything on it as they were getting their feathers in.

The feathers, in this early growth stage, are called blood feathers, as they are filled with blood and are connected to a free flowing blood supply. Trying to wrap the wing could cause one of these to break and birds have bled to death when one of these broke. Then, a few days later the staff noticed that one of its legs was at an odd angle, was swollen, and had possibly broken during the night. We have had a few baby birds that seem to have this "brittle bone" condition, which could be from being fed tainted food (like a poisoned mouse) or it could be a physiological condition. Whatever the cause, it is VERY difficult to treat and the animal suffers greatly during that process. So it was at this time that the decision was made to euthanize it and put it out of its misery.

Now, what you have all been waiting for.....Let's talk OTTER KITS!! Eee!

We got a call from a guy who was hired as a Pest Control person to board up the underside of a house. Unfortunately, there was a mother otter and her 3 kits under there. Mom ran off, they called us, and we advised him to put the otter kits in a box with a towel or something to keep them warm and see if mom comes back to get them. I know...I seem to rant about this every year....but people, if you are going to do maintenance on your house, burn brush piles, or board up the underside to keep out animals...PLEASE DO IT DURING THE WINTER MONTHS! Like in FEBRUARY!! Don't wait until the beginning of baby season to do this. Sigh.

Needless to say mom didn't come back that night so in they came to Wolf Hollow. And man, are they ever CUTE!!!

We got in two males and a female. Upon arrival into Wolf Hollow, they all get examined.

This is the little girl, the tiniest of the three by far, and she obviously was so NOT enjoying this. We did find that she had a scrape under one arm that was healing.

After their examination, they got markings put on their heads so we can know which is which.

This is especially important with the males, as they were close in size and weight. See, we keep a detailed chart for each baby, marking down how much they ate, their weight, and if they are having regular bowel movements.

Then we made some formula, poured it into tiny bottles.....

...and got down to feeding. Luckily, once you get the nipple in and they taste the formula, they are pretty good to go.

I always take the feeding times, and therefore quiet/still times, of babies to try and get closeups of various body parts.

Isn't it just precious?! And teeny tiny?!

After all the fun of feeding is over comes the not so fun, but extremely necessary task, of stimulating them so they empty their bowels.

We will have to do this for a bit yet, as in the wild mom ingests all their waste to try and hide the smells of the vulnerable babies. And I will tell you something, can these little guys ever store a LOT of urine! One little guy I fed last week I thought had surely peed his body weight by the time he was done! No bladders the size of peanuts on these wee ones!

Some of the biggest challenges we have had in the past with otters this young have been serious digestive issues. In fact, the last time we got in a group this small, none of them made it. But I went over to Penny's the other night to help with 8pm feeds (they get fed every 4 hours starting at 8am and ending at midnight) and they all, the little boys especially, are getting big...and fat! I heard that one of them had a slight issue, but it was given meds and is fine now. So...keeping everything looks like, for the first time since I have been at Wolf Hollow....that we may actually get to watch the entire growth process with these guys! It should be fun!

Til next time...